The day has finally arrived for me to say goodbye to you. Again. Again and again. Tomorrow I leave you to embark on a new journey into an unknown land, a new one for me to call home. But please believe me, it’s not you…it’s me. Or well…maybe it is you. I don’t really know, actually. Maybe I am not good enough for you anymore.
Eighteen years ago I came to you as a stranger, a foreigner that would intrude and make you my home, though it was not a choice and I had no idea what it implied anyway. All these years you sheltered me, accepted me, educated me, and made me the person I am today. I left you for the first time nine years ago and it was the first decision that was truly mine, but little did I know that that would be the first of many times I willingly decided to leave you for other destinations. Perhaps that’s what it is. You will always be a starting point, not a destination.
But you know what that means? I will keep coming back to you. Again and again.
I am thankful to have spent the last nine months with you, experiencing your winter, spring, summer, and fall and falling in love with every season all over again. From the frigid chill to the rejuvenating breeze to the scorching heat (not much this year) to the mindblowingly stunning colours of the foliage, you have impressed me with you ever changing appearance and diversity.
I am thankful for your myriad of multicultural communities and neighbourhoods scattered about every corner of the city. Chinatown, Greektown, Koreatown, Cabbagetown, Distillery District, Kensington Market, Rosedale, Agincourt, Harbourfront…every one of these places has its own unique characteristics that attract me to explore them as if they are new cities themselves.
I am thankful for the numerous events that take place in our city, from music festivals to art exhibitions to food fairs. This year, I had my first experiences with Summerlicious/Winterlicious, Nuit Blanche, Taste of Asia, Jazz and Beaches festival, Ribfest, and more. What a vibrant place you are 🙂
Speaking of food festivals, I am thankful for the exceptional food scene in the city. Whether it is a warm home-cooked meal, a snack from a food truck, or a nice dinner at any of the thousands of restaurants in town, eating is always a luxury. From sushi to souvlaki to samosas to steak to street meat, from steamed fish to spare ribs to stir-fried vegetables at home, how could I not drool at the variety of delicious goodness that is within reach?
I am thankful for your gifts of nature, your gardens, your parks, your hiking trails, your green space, places where I could go and do nothing but breathe and relax in the sound of the wind. Hiking the hidden trails in the city has become one of my favourite pastimes, and frankly, I never thought “walking around leisurely” could become an enjoyable hobby. You kept me on my feet, and brought me outdoors more than ever before.
Most of all, I am thankful for the people who continue to love me, encourage me, and make me feel like Toronto will always be home. My family, my friends, my ex-colleagues, my ex-classmates, every stranger who had been kind to me, every acquaintance who had been patient with me – my heart is moved time after time by you. To the quiet, strict but goofy father, the stubborn but soft-hearted mom, and the annoying but funny sister – I cannot attempt to express my love using mere words, but know that I am the luckiest girl in the world because I have you as family.
So, even though I still have a love-hate relationship with TTC and even though not being able to find a job here drove me crazy (and is the reason why I am leaving), I will keep coming back to you simply because you are my home. For now, I say goodbye to you and I ask that you bless me in my departure. See you again…very soon!